DUQUESNE (KDKA) – A man and a woman are dead after an early morning house fire in Duquesne.

The call came in just after midnight when the heavy, black smoke could be seen coming from the back of the home on the 1100 block of Karl Avenue.

According to the Duquesne Fire Chief Frank Cobb, crews were on scene within minutes. Neighbors informed them that two people were inside the home. They attempted to open the front door but it was locked, causing them to force their way in.

“I heard a loud banging, as if someone was banging on my door,” said neighbor Buddy Newman.

That made Newman peek out his window to find out what was going on: “And I saw the flames out from the kitchen through my rear door.”

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer

He says he called 911 immediately. The blown-out windows are now boarded up.

The Duquesne fire chief tells KDKA they had to force their way in through the front door and when they ran upstairs, they found the victims, a man and a woman. The woman has been identified as 23-year-old Karissa Conner. One was located at the top of the steps, the other in a bedroom.

Newman tells KDKA the two were in a relationship. He says the man was young, in his early 20s.

“I knew him since he was born. Went to his dedication. A hard working kid, a nice kid,” said Newman.

“Crews encountered heavy fire conditions and heavy fire load throughout,” Cobb said. “So crews had to back out and then immediately through a transitional attack to get the fire knocked out and make entry to the house.”

Most of the damage to the home was on the second floor and in the attic.

No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.